VAN – Those growing up in a small community like Van usually start out in pre-school together and make their way to their senior year in high school with the same group of friends.
“In 2001, our dear friend and fellow classmate Kristen Woodrum passed away,” said Van graduating senior Chelsea Browder as she gave a history of the Class of 2013 speech. “Tonight, we have an empty seat in honor of her and to remember her on this special day. We know she is here with us in spirit.”
Van Junior Senior High School had its 84th Commencement Program on Friday, which was highlighted by a senior memories slide show video showing the students from childhood all the way to their senior year at the school.
“We are here!” Browder said. “Congratulations Class of 2013!”
The small school graduated 27 seniors, several earning highest honors, high honors and honors. Others were recognized for achievements, including earning the state’s Promise Scholarship and also graduating form the Boone County Schools Honors Academy.
“I have only been principal here for about five months,” said Garth Mock. “But it did take long to see the love, pride and togetherness this community has for one another. I am honored to be a part of it.”
Van’s beloved vice-principal, and Boone County Commissioner, Eddie Hendricks was at the end of the line to congratulate each student as they received their high school diplomas. Unlike the handshakes Board of Education and Boone County School officials received, Hendricks was greeted with a big hug and tears from many of the students.
“He is so loved here,” said one parent. “This is a small community and he has known all of these kids since they were babies.”
Hendricks could be heard telling each of the students how proud he was of them and how much he loved them.
“It’s just so obvious how much he means to all of the students at this school,” Mock said.
Senior graduate Michelle Cobb gave the highest honor student address.
“This is a great night for us, our parents and our teachers,” she said. “But now we must go out into the world as adults to face new challenges. Now it is our turn. I am very proud of all of you and can’t wait to see what each of you does with the rest of your lives.”
Cobb said the graduates owed the most credit for their graduation success to their parents, families and teachers.
“Without them, who knows where we would be tonight,” she said.
She ended her speech by saying that each of the graduates would now be going their separate ways in life.
“But remember, our possibilities are endless,” she said. “Live your lives to the fullest and never let anyone tell you that there is something that you can’t accomplish.”